The executive committee of the opposition party Indian National Congress, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), has accused Narendra Modi government of colossal mismanagement of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. It said that despite sufficient warning from experts and examples of several European and South East Asian countries, the government failed to prepare itself to handle the second wave of the pandemic.
The CWC said government failed to create sufficient public awareness that a waning pandemic could be a precursor to a second wave that may be more devastating than the first wave. and failed to rapidly scale up the production and supply of the two approved vaccines in India by providing sufficient funds and other concessions, if sought. The CWC in a statement on April 17 said Modi government also failed to resort to compulsory licensing and production of the two approved vaccines in other pharma manufacturing facilities in India and failed to universalise vaccination after health workers and front line workers had been vaccinated in Phase I.
Congress also accused the government for not providing adequate funds to 'the state governments that were fighting a two front war - one against the pandemic and the other against the economic recession - despite accumulating hundreds of crores of rupees in the opaque PM-CARES Fund'.
The committee observed that the government should have allowed the state governments and public and private hospitals to handle the vaccine rollout. It failed to prevent, or at least minimise, the wastage of vaccine doses that stands at more than 23 lakh doses today; failed to maintain the scale and momentum of testing, tracking and tracing of infected persons and their contacts; failed to grant emergency-use approval to other vaccines that had got approval in the US, UK, European Union and Japan and failed to allow the import of other approved vaccines manufactured in other countries to augment the supply of vaccines The committee also blamed the government for failing to adopt a need-based, fair and equitable allocation of the vaccine doses to the various states.
"We regret to say that the nation is paying a very heavy price for the thoughtlessness and unpreparedness of the NDA government to tackle the gravest disaster that has hit the country and has affected millions of families claiming 1,75,673 lives so far. It is a shame that the country with the world's largest vaccine manufacturing capacity has earned the odium of being among the most affected countries in the world. With a heavy heart, we caution the people that unless urgent corrective measures are taken the nation faces an unprecedented catastrophe," the committee concluded.